Opinion: Bill creates Natives Hawaiian 'tribe'
"The Rev. Jeremiah Wright has company in the Aloha State. Barack Obama’s former pastor has proclaimed that America is really two peoples, one black, one white. Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka (D.) is pushing a bill that would divide his state’s residents into two groups: Native Hawaiian and non-Native. Sen. Akaka’s bill is as foolish and regressive as the sermons of the Rev. Wright.

While many Americans have denounced Wright’s racism, one version of the Akaka bill sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives last fall by a vote of 261 to 153 and now awaits a vote in the U.S. Senate.

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act would confer upon Native Hawaiians a tribal status like that afforded to American Indian tribes. Because Hawaii has been a cultural melting pot for generations—the 2000 U.S. Census found the state the most multiracial in the country—the tribal idea doesn’t easily square with Hawaiian reality. Unlike recognized pre-existing Native American tribes in the other 49 states, the Akaka bill does not require Native Hawaiians to meet any of the seven criteria that federal law mandates for tribal recognition, such as a geographically and culturally distinct community with an established and long-standing government.

Instead, the bill creates a tribe out of whole cloth, defining Native Hawaiians as descendents of the “indigenous, native people” who occupied the islands and exercised sovereignty there prior to the peaceful overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893."

Get the Story:
Phil Brand: Will Senate OK Akaka’s Hawaii Race Test? (Human Events 6/10)